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Archive for July 19th, 2008

Obama Will Not Speak at Brandenburg Gate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

Obama Will Not Speak at Brandenburg Gate
Sen. Barack Obama will give a speech at the Victory Column in Berlin next week, “avoiding the Brandenburg Gate after a political spat broke out over plans to speak there,” according to Berliner Zeitung.

According to Bloomberg, “a stage will be set up at the column, a 19th-century fluted structure that lies at the opposite end of a tree-lined boulevard from the Brandenburg Gate… An appearance at the Victory Column, capped by its trademark gilded angel, will still give the Illinois senator the Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop in the distance. A political squabble erupted after Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed apprehension about the gate being used for electioneering.”


The Irony Runneth Over

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

The Irony Runneth Over

It’s kind of heartwarming to see Krauthammer unpack his sense of irony from the mothballs, where it’s obviously been for the past eight years. So now he discovers “backdrops.”

373033101_ab30e52312.thumbnail.jpgIt’s Hammer Time again:

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast — a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins — would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final “tear down this wall” liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

It’s kind of heartwarming to see Krauthammer unpack his sense of irony from the mothballs, where it’s obviously been for the past eight years. So now he discovers “backdrops.”

Kinda like Rip Van Winkle waking up after a long snooze and declaring himself to be a loyal subject of King George III.

(I see TBogg is thinking along the same lines.)


Indianapolis Implements Plan to Curb Police Misconduct

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

Indianapolis Implements Plan to Curb Police Misconduct

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has a plan to clean up its act. The plan is designed to make police officers obey the law. You wouldn't think that would be difficult, but this is what's been happening in the absence of meaningful oversight:

Narcotics detectives ripping off drug dealers. A police officer selling a gun to a felon informant. Another officer helping his wife run an illegal escort service.

Misconduct allegations against the officers have caused the dismissal of at least 20 criminal cases that the bad officers tainted. The question is how many other charges over the years have resulted from work done by officers who feel free to ignore the law. When police officers behave lawlessly, there's reason to wonder whether they have any qualms about planting evidence or committing perjury to advance their own careers.

Here's the plan, such as it is: [more …]

The plan calls for increasing supervision, tightening oversight of evidence collection, reinstating more widespread polygraph testing of officers, creating a department recruiter position and instituting mandatory performance evaluations.

The value of polygraph testing is questionable. Mandatory performance evaluations should have been implemented long ago (despite the objections of the police union), but police “performance” is too often measured by the number of arrests made, not by honesty. A “requirement that supervisors write reports after searches” is useful, but many searches (stopping people on the street and patting them down, for instance) will never come to the attention of supervisors. The plan nonetheless has value by assuring that “a supervisor signs off on search warrants and is present whenever officers recover drugs or money.”

Oversight is a key, but it's an easy word to use and a difficult concept to implement. Supervisors typically learn about bad officers only if other officers report them, an act often seen as a betrayal by their peers. The careful investigation of citizen complaints, coupled with strong, independent civilian oversight might be more productive in the long term.

If they aren't already there, putting security cameras in the property room might make it more difficult for property officers to steal money and drugs. Still, they wouldn't have prevented “narcotics detectives Robert B. Long and Jason P. Edwards [from] allegedly skimm[ing] portions of marijuana from intercepted packages before delivering them to IMPD’s property room.”

Using “a recruiter and college visits to draw higher-quality applicants” is one of the best long-term solutions. Insisting that officers be well-educated and well-trained, coupled with psychological screening to weed out the authoritarians who want power in order to abuse it, will lead to a better breed of cop. That plan needs to be coupled with an attractive salary and rigorous training about the important role that police have in protecting civil rights.


DFH in NYT

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

DFH in NYT
So what’s Kit Seelye like in person?


The Power of the Miniskirt

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

The Power of the Miniskirt
In the ’60s, miniskirts were positive, powerful examples of female sexuality. Overexposed starlets like Paris and Britney have tarnished that image.


Bush agrees to time ‘horizon’ on Iraq troop cuts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Bush agrees to time ‘horizon’ on Iraq troop cuts
When I look at the way the press jumped all over Obama’s remarks that he would “continue to refine” his withdrawal plans for US forces in Iraq, which has essentially been his position all along:On Iraq, he drew cheers when he said: “I opposed this war from the start” and “I have also consistently said that once we were in, we had to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in.”I can’t wait to see how those who accuse Obama of flip-flopping react to this 100% back flip:President
—- link

LeftWord: The Best Liberal Blog Posts


White House Insisted On Bush Loyalists For Top DOJ Posts In 2003

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

White House Insisted On Bush Loyalists For Top DOJ Posts In 2003
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft left the Department of Justice more than three years ago, but he’s still in the news and will be up on Capitol Hill this morning for testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. This morning’s Washington…


Netroots nation – Don Siegelman

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

Netroots nation – Don Siegelman

Don Siegelman, former Democratic Governor of Alabama, is being interviewed by Sam Seder. If you are not familiar with Don Siegelman’s case, I have several posts (here, here and here).

Don Siegelman’s story is something that everyone would should know. If a former governor could be treated like this the rest of us are in serious trouble.

Don Siegelman has a new web site – www.contemptforrove.com. Please take some time and look at this site.

BTW, I’m here at the conference. I know that Bill is here and we haven’t seen each other, yet.


McCain missed every single Afghanistan hearing his committee held.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

McCain missed every single Afghanistan hearing his committee held.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has attended zero of his committee’s six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years,” ABC News reports: A review of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings as listed on the committee Web site for the past two years reveals that McCain’s committee […]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has attended zero of his committee’s six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years,” ABC News reports:

A review of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings as listed on the committee Web site for the past two years reveals that McCain’s committee has held six hearings that included the word “Afghanistan” in the title or Central Command — which overseas U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

McCain missed them all.

The McCain campaign said the senator’s “previous foreign policy experience make up for his recent lack of attendance at hearings.”


Governing in Black and White

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 19th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

Governing in Black and White
One of the unspoken tenets of the Obama candidacy is that his election would be a milestone for race relations, healing many of the country’s wounds.

U.S., Iraq Agree To ‘Time Horizon’
President Bush and Iraq’s prime minister have agreed to set a “time horizon” for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq as part of a long-term security accord they are trying to negotiate by the end of the month, White House officials said yesterday.